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Shakry, O.E. Pursley, S. McKusick, C. (2018). Introduction. Psychoanal. Hist., 20(3):269-275.

(2018). Psychoanalysis and History, 20(3):269-275


Omnia El Shakry, Sara Pursley and Caroline McKusick

This special issue stages an encounter between psychoanalysis and the Middle East. Taking seriously the possibility of an alchemical transformation of psychoanalytic thought through its encounter with the Middle East and with Islam, chapters reopen the psychoanalytic canon to consider key concepts through unexpected interlocutors, religious traditions, and intellectual formations. This includes bringing medieval Islamic philosophical concepts of the Cloud to bear on conceptions of causality and après coup; and thinking from the point of view of the Last Judgment in dialogue with the therapeutic work of a Moroccan imam and the Lacanian analyst Fouad Benchekroun. Authors also recover lesser known histories of psychoanalytic theory: in the work of Egyptian psychoanalytic theorist Sami-Ali, who developed a distinctly expansive theory of the imaginary influenced by Islamic apophatic theology and his own clinical work; and in Iraqi sociologist ᶜAli al-Wardi's critical reevaluation of the unconscious, via the Islamic revolutionary tradition, as a source of the miraculous. Moving to the contemporary era, chapters tackle the various uses of psychoanalysis in ‘dialogue initiatives’ that delegitimize Palestinians' use of violence in Palestine/Israel; and in efforts to ‘lay on the couch’ the figure of the jihadi in contemporary France in the service of a secular modernizing project. Engaging critical theory, history, anthropology, literary studies, and Islamic studies, this special issue will be of interest to all those concerned with psychoanalysis in relation to a geopolitical elsewhere.

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